Intentionality Part One

Jesus walked toward Jerusalem to die on the cross for you and me. It was the time for Isaiah 50:7 to be fulfilled. It says, “…I have set My face like a flint, and I know that I will not be ashamed.”

Watch what happened in Luke  9:53. The Samaritans didn’t receive Him because, “…His face was set for the journey to Jerusalem.” A fruit bearing life that glorifies the Lord, walks intentionally in a way that exemplifies Him.

I was asking the Holy Spirit for wisdom for a mentee that I was working with. She is imprisoned in a serious eating disorder. He gave me two words for her to incorporate before she eats. “I will” indicates intention. 

Think of Habakkuk. Life around him was a mess. Habakkuk 3:16 says, “When I heard, my body trembled; my lips quivered…rottenness entered my bones, and I trembled in myself…” Habakkuk’s body was reacting to the stressful situation.

In spite of that, in verse 15 he said, “Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.” Psalm 146:2 says, “While I live I will praise the Lord; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.”

Asaph was emotionally struggling. In his anguish he voiced questions about the Lord. Psalm 77:7-9 were his questions that you can read for yourself. In verse 10 he realized what he was doing. Verses 11-12 say, “…I will remember the works of the Lord; surely I will remember Your wonders of old. I will also meditate on all Your work, and talk of Your deeds.”

Works Or Fruit? Part Two

Fruit is an inner work of the Holy Spirit in the life of one who is submitted and controlled by Him. Works of our flesh are visual evidence when we are not. Three verses before the fruit of the Spirit was listed in Galatians 5:22, Paul recorded 17 evident workings of one controlled by their flesh. You can read them for yourself. They are the opposite of love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

1 Thessalonians 4:12 says, “That you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and that you may lack nothing.” The Amplified says, “…bear yourselves becomingly and be correct and honorable and command the respect of the outside world…”

Romans 12:18 says, “Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, Vengeance is Mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” Living as one set free from enslavement to sin, is a testimony of one who walks in the Spirit.

John said it another way. 1 John 2:6 says, “He who says he abides in Him ought Himself also to walk just as He walked.” Romans 8:5 says, “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.”

Works Or Fruit? Part One

I was reading the book of 1 Thessalonians. The fruit of their salvation was recorded in 1 Thessalonians 1:9. It says, “…how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God.”

They were set free from enslaving sin. Romans 6:6 says, “Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.”

Verse 10 was written about Jesus and verse 11 to us. It says, “…but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Hebrews 9:14 says that the blood Jesus shed for us, cleanses our conscience from dead works to serve our living Lord. Ephesians 1:7 says, “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.”

How then shall we live? Romans 6:1-2 says that since we died to sin, how can we live in it any longer? 1 Thessalonians 5:15 is a great verse to help us answer that question. It says, “See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all.”

The Amplified in verses 15-16 say, “…always aim to show kindness and seek to do good to one another and to everybody. Be happy (in your faith) and rejoice and be glad-hearted continually (always).” Two barometer verses to help us measure our fruit.

Praise Sharpens Our Discernment

When a bank hires a new teller, they train them through handling real money. Why don’t they give them counterfeit money? They want them to gain discernment through constant use. Let’s take that into the spiritual. 

Our praise is always to the Lord. He is the only One worthy of praise. In Revelation 4 John recorded the scene in heaven. In verse 10, the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lord saying, “…You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created.”

Many of David’s psalms are words bursting with praise. Psalm 146-150 all end with, “…Praise the Lord!” The more we praise the Lord for Who He is at all times, the more our heart’s walls reverberate with truth that will keep us free. 

He is our All in All that the enemy seeks to distract us from. Praise will sharpen our faith, so that we will discern when a fiery dart whizzes into our thoughts. Continual praise will not allow it to penetrate. It is when we are filled with doubt, fear, and unbelief that the darts sneak past and plant themselves.

I encourage you, as you daily read your Bible, to remain alert. When you come to a verse that declares Who the Lord is, stop and praise Him with the verse. Last night I was reading Job 34. I felt the Holy Spirit stop me at verse 24. I read it again and then turned it first into praise, and then later used it as I prayed for our nation. It says, “He breaks in pieces mighty men without inquiry, and sets others in their place.”

Praise Destroys Strongholds

The enemy of our soul battles to control our minds through his lies. John 8:44 says that there, “…is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.”

He shoots fiery darts to undermine our faith. The very thing that he seeks to destroy is our trusted and proven weapon. Ephesians 6:16 says that our door shield of faith quenches his fiery darts. 

What is a stronghold? 2 Corinthians 10:5 says that it is, “…arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God…” All lies are against God’s ways and His purpose for our life.

The foundation for a stronghold is set when a fiery dart lie penetrates our thoughts. They usually come in the first person, They are stealthily designed so that we think it is our thought. I learned in 1993 that not all my thoughts are of my  own origin. That set me on a new path of victorious praise.

Here is a verse that we can praise the Lord with through faith declarations. Isaiah 54:17. It would sound something like this: Lord, I praise You because no weapon formed against me will prosper! Then add Isaiah 55:11 to it. I praise You Lord that Your word will never return to You void, because You will cause it to accomplish and prosper.

Inner strongholds are built with lies. High praise is a weapon that tears them down. Psalm 149:6 says, “Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand.” I encourage you to read verses 7-9 also.

Praise Massages Our Heart

Here is a new song called, I Will Praise You

I praise You for Your mighty love. I praise You for Your grace. Without You I am nothing. With You I am emboldened in Your power

I face each foe with Your sword in my hand. I whack the lies to pieces. In faith I confidently stand. Having done all to stand I remain standing

My strength is found in You. You are the Rock in which I hide. You fight my battles as Your peace within abides. My joy is Your sustaining gift that will not be taken away

It remains so I can rejoice in You no matter what may come to be. In You I am secure. You are the anchor of my soul. I rest in You steadfast and immovable

The tempestuous waves may crash against me. In You I am safe from harm. In You I live and move and have my being. Dwelling in You I am sealed for eternity

A good massage is designed to break up tight muscles, restore circulation, and release toxins. Let’s take this into the spiritual. Worry, fear, anger, anxiety, and indecision all cause toxic stress that tightens our muscles. Our heart constricts, and we jam up the way our body is designed to function.

Praise takes our focus off our circumstances onto the Lord. As we lift up our voice in praise, our heart is massaged. Tensions melt as we praise the One Who is worthy. The moment we praise Him, like the singers in 2 Chronicles 20:22, our taunting enemy’s attempts are defeated.

Trust Is A Life Skill

A trusting heart remains steadfast, even when we are surrounded by impossibilities. I love 2 Chronicles 20. What an example for us. We go out to battle with praise as our forerunner. King Jehoshaphat had received news that a great multitude was coming.

Verse 3 says that he feared, and set himself to seek the Lord. Then he proclaimed the truth based on God’s attributes. Verse 11 says, “Here they are, rewarding us by coming to throw us out of Your possession which You have given us to inherit.”

Verse 12 highlights his trust. It says, “O our God, will You not judge them? For we have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are on You.”

God’s ways are far higher than our ways. In verse 17 He told them to position themselves, and to stand still because He was with them. In verse 21 the singers went out before the army, saying, “…Praise the Lord, for His mercy endures forever.”

Verse 22 recorded the power of their praise. It says, “Now when they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushes…and they were defeated.” God crushed their enemy through praise.

Praise is the fruit of trust. Psalm 68:1 says, “Let God arise, let His enemies be scattered…” Verse 4 says, “Sing to God, sing praises to His name; extol Him who rides on the clouds, by His name Yah, and rejoice before Him.” 

Powerful Message

I have never done this before. I’m giving you some notes I took while listening to a message by John Van Gelderen

The Real You

The real you is God’s nature. If we don’t put the lies of the enemy to death, we will view ourselves as failures, losers, and duds. We then have to pretend to be righteous when around other believers.

Thinking down deep that we aren’t righteous, but God says that down deep we really are righteous. We act out what we really believe. We have to allow the Holy Spirit to convince us of the truth.

Romans 6:10 says, “For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.” He died unto sin once.

At salvation we are placed into Christ. Romans 6:7 says, “For he who has died has been freed from sin.” In the core of our being we are new creations. It is a creative act of God ~ miraculous.

Ephesians 4:24 says, “And that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.” This is the real you – His seed was implanted into us ~ inserted and has been there ever since ~ even on our worst days.

We are radically righteous in Christ ~ even when we buy into satan’s lies when tempted to sin and sin. We are still IN Christ. At our core we are righteous. Satan’s lie is that we are fundamentally flawed. God’s truth is that we are fundamentally fixed.

Lies need to be put to death because they become our excuses. We are defined by who we are IN Christ ~ His righteousness is IN us. We need to focus on the Person. Hebrews 12:2 says, “Looking unto Jesu…” He is our Power Source.

I typed this out so I could share it with a new mentee, but you might like it to share with someone ~ or grab hold of these truths for yourself

Fortitude Is A Life Skill

I love this verse in Nahum 2:1. To me it is very militant. and charges me with power to remain alert and on guard. The enemy of our soul uses our mind as his battlefield. It says, “He who scatters has come up before your face. Man the fort! Watch the road! Strengthen  your flanks! Fortify your power mightily.” Note the exclamation points!

This is not a casual verse. It calls us to arms because our adversary continually sets traps. In Ephesians 6:10-18 Paul wrote about putting on God’s special provision of armor. Verse 13 requires fortitude. 

It says, “Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” David had some mighty men that are great examples of fortitude. 

You can read about them in 2 Samuel 23:8-39. Eleazar is the one I want to focus on. Verse 10 says, “He arose and attacked the Philistines until his hand was weary, and his hand stuck to the sword. The Lord brought about a great victory that day…”

When we are weary in the battle, God’s hidden word ~ our inner sword will fortify our heart, and will carry us through to the victory. 1 John 5:4 says, “…And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.” Romans 10:17 says that faith comes by hearing God’s word. We build forts of truth around our mind, and proclaim it in the face of enemy placed obstacles.

Perseverance Is A Life Skill

The writer to the Hebrews reminded the folks that they needed endurance. I want to start off this new year with an endurance reminder. The Strong’s defines the Greek word hupomone as, constancy, continuance, bearing up, steadfastness, and holding out. It combines two words, “under” and “to remain.”

I love this note in my Bible. Endurance is described as the capacity to continue to bear up under difficult circumstances, not with a passive complacency, but with a hopeful fortitude that actively resists weariness and defeat.

Hebrew 10:35-36 says, “…do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise.”

One of the keys to perseverance is maintaining a grateful heart. By the way, that is the will of God according to 1 Thessalonians 5:16. Hebrews 13:15 described it as a sacrifice. When we want to grumble and complain, we lay that fleshly desire on the altar of praise!

Thanksgiving is a pleasing heart aroma to the Lord. In 2004 the Holy Spirit taught me to combat negativity with gratitude, and He placed a little running melody in my heart. It became my default. I barely heard it and didn’t think others could. 

However, when I was taking care of my elderly hard of hearing friend she did. I had folks turn and thank me for my happy song while standing in lines. Colossians 3:16 recorded it as, “…singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” It lifts our spirit and glorifies the Lord.